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Everyone Loves an Underdog

By Alasdair McClintock on February 6, 2020 in Sport

Chanida Sutthiruang and Thailand Captain Sornnarin Tippoch, by Maha Vajiralongkorn.

If, like me, you think T20 cricket is emblematic of the degradation of society into a mindless orgy of drooling egoists who live their reality virtually, but on the other hand, love the emergence of women’s sport, February is going to be a tricky month to navigate. The 10th edition of the Women’s T20 World Cup is coming to town!
It all kicks off on the 21st of February, with Australia to face India at Sydney Showground – that’s out west, for those who don’t leave the Eastern Suburbs bubble (don’t worry, I had to look it up too). Australia is the defending champion and red hot favourite to take it out once again. With home ground advantage, you’d almost be tempted to put your mortgage on the short price, but if you’re placing bets like that, I’d happily put my mortgage on you losing your home at some point anyway.
The teams contesting are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the usual suspects of world cricket: Sri Lanka, England, West Indies, etc. It’s good to see Thailand in there too though, and (at the time of writing) two yet to be decided qualifiers. Thailand is led by fast bowler Chanida Sutthiruang (remember the name) and given the unpredictable nature of the format, and despite my complete lack of knowledge on the form-lines, I’m willing to label Thailand a dark horse, more than capable of springing a few upsets and advancing past the group stages.
These will go until the 3rd of March, before both semi-finals are played on the 5th at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the final to be played on the 8th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which happens to also be International Women’s Day. This is no coincidence, organisers are hoping to use the significance of the day to break the record for the highest ever attendance for a standalone women’s sporting event worldwide, which is 90,185, at the 1999 women’s soccer World Cup final between old foes the United States and China.
They’ve called in the big guns and hired Katy Perry to try and do this. Am I wrong in thinking this is a little insulting to the likes of Ellyse Perry (no relation) and Meg Lanning? Do they not have enough star power already? Melbourne saw some great crowds for the AFL Women’s last year. I suspect organisers have just burned through a heap of cash for nothing. They should have booked Tina Arena.
Katy Perry has said, “I’m all about celebrating equality and the achievements of women, which naturally happens on a global scale on International Women’s Day. It’s no coincidence that I said yes to performing live at the women’s final on this day.”
I’m sure the huge pay cheque helped too, Katy. You want me to believe that crap, donate it to the victims of domestic violence, or prop up the salaries of the Thailand cricketers.
But this tournament is bigger than Katy Perry and in this instance, I’m happy for our minds to be dulled for the greater good. Come on Thailand!